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Workshop 13
It’s Not About Facebook: Unlocking the Power of Social Networks in Organizations

Presenters: Dan Halgin, University of Kentucky
                  Kate Ehrlich, IBM Research

Coordinator: Michel A. Buffet, Fisher Rock Consulting

Popular Web applications such as Facebook and LinkedIn have made a blazing foray around this flat and connected world and introduced the expression of “social networking” in our everyday conversations.  At the same time, a growing body of research—lead by multidisciplinary teams of sociologists, business people, technology experts, and psychologists—has been looking to advance our understanding of how individuals in organizations form networks and how these networks influence key functions and processes in organizations.  Many equate social networks with the informal organization, weighing heavily on core organizational functions such as strategy formulation and execution, research and innovation, knowledge management, intra- and interorganizational collaboration, large-scale change, and talent management.   Aside from making a clear distinction between the popular view of social networks and what research institutions around the world and organizational practitioners are doing, this workshop will include:

• A review of social networks theory and key concepts
• A presentation of current research methods to measure and describe social networks
• Case examples of how social networks analysis (SNA) has been applied across a wide array of organizational needs and issues
• A review of opportunities and challenges in the design and execution of SNA initiatives
• A small team exercise applying SNA in the context of an organizational intervention.

This workshop should be of interest to internal and external practitioners, across a variety of functional disciplines: organizational effectiveness, learning and development, knowledge management, organizational development, or talent management.

This workshop is designed to help participants:

• Describe the key concepts of social network theory
• Explain the benefits of applying SNA across a variety of organizational functional areas
• Interpret a social network graph and its implications
• Design a basic protocol to measure and describe a social network
• Identify key factors to consider when designing and executing  an SNA intervention

Kate Erlich is senior technical staff member in the Collaborative User Experience group at IBM Research where she uses social etwork analysis as a research and consulting tool to gain insights into patterns of collaboration in distributed teams. She has used SNA with over 60 groups covering team dynamics, knowledge and information flow, collaboration, communities, innovation, software development, and governance structure. She is currently investigating the systematic combination of social and task networks to effect more productive and efficient collaboration and coordination in distributed software teams. Kate has published academic papers on her research using SNA in the CHI, CSCW, software engineering, and management science premier conferences.   Kate originally joined Lotus in 1993 where she led research and consulting on expertise location and the role of intermediaries in knowledge transfer. She returned to IBM in 2003 after spending several years as global solution lead for collaboration at Viant, a professional services organization, and as a visiting scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.   Kate has a BSc in psychology from the University of London and a PhD in cognitive science from the University of Sussex, UK. She did postdoctorate work in cognitive science at University of Texas, University of Massachusetts, and Yale. Kate has been active in several professional societies including the ACM SIG on human computer interaction and was the founder of the Boston chapter and conference co-chair. She has co-chaired other professional and business conferences, and she serves on the review committees of conferences and journals in CHI, CSCW, and software engineering. 

Daniel Halgin received his PhD in management from Boston College.  His program of research focuses on the interplay between social network theory and identity dynamics and how these concepts influence strategic behavior.  His work has appeared in the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, Field Methods, and MIT Sloan Management Review and will soon appear in the Sage Handbook of Social Network Analysis and Research in the Sociology of Organizations.  He has worked as a consultant with multiple top performing global organizations and has given workshops on social network analysis to academic, practitioner and government audiences all over the world.